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Doctors Expect Teen Seriously Hurt in East Harlem Explosion to Make Full Recovery

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A teenager who was pulled from the rubble after two buildings exploded in East Harlem is well on the road to recovery, and while it's not an easy one, he and his father are determined to succeed. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

The explosion in East Harlem three weeks ago cost Cecilio Hernandez so much. His wife and daughter were both killed. But finally, some good news: his 16-year-old son, Oscar, is on the road to recovery.

"I feel very well and very strong," Cecilio Hernandez said through an interpreter. "We trust these doctors and their professionalism, and we have seen what they're doing. "

Oscar was pulled from the rubble by police officers. Doctors say that quick work may have saved his life. He was brought to Harlem Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The most serious was a laceration of his liver.

"He had lost about half of his blood volume into his abdominal cavity from this profusely bleeding tear in the capsule of his liver," said Dr. Arthur Cooper, director of trauma and pediatric surgical services at the Harlem Hospital Center. "Fortunately, we were able to get that stopped."

Doctors also described a list of other grave injuries: two broken thigh bones, a back fracture and burns over half of Oscar's body, all complicated by a pre-existing skin condition.

Despite all that, he is now expected to make a full recovery, which doctors say is pretty much a miracle.

"I think we're all confident that he'll be able to get pretty well back to his normal activities," Cooper said.

Oscar remains in critical but stable condition in the burn unit, but he's already eating on his own and talking to doctors and family. His father says he's only told him a little bit about the explosion so as not to shock him.

"Now, I'm speaking to him very slowly," Cecilio Hernandez said through an interpreter. "That's why I was hiding from everyone, because I have to speak very slowly to him with help of the psychologist."

Oscar is said to be in pretty good spirits. In fact, he had some Burger King for lunch. Doctors say he could be out of the hospital by summer. His father, who's spent nearly every night at his bedside here, can't wait for that time to come.

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